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Remembering one wonderful Killarney business couple -
Jerh and Molly Breen, the famous Jewellers who once traded on Plunkett Street and later on Main Street for over 50 years until 1990. Jerh died in 1993 and Molly in 2017 at the wonderful age of nearly 104 years. The couple who wed in 1940 were synonymous with Horse racing, boating, fishing, bridge card playing and all that is good about social life in Killarney.
In a newspaper interview with The Kerryman back in 1993 Molly recalled;
“We used to have to get coupons for petrol back then as we needed the petrol to clean the clocks. All of the watches we sold came from Switzerland so it was impossible to get them during the war.
“I remember American soldiers who were stationed in the North would visit Killarney and they had plenty of cash to buy jewellery. But other than that trade, it was a tough time to be in business,” she recalled.
However business began to improve from 1947 onwards, as there was more of a demand for jewellery, while the tourist market also opened up in the late 1940s.
Molly noted a lot of changes over the years in the jewellery business.
“Items are now being sold for almost five times the price people paid for them fifty years ago. My husband repaired watches. He learnt his trade with a jeweller in Killorglin and then later spent some time with a watchmaker in Cork.
“But in recent years people just buy watches and throw them away when they stop working. Nobody fixes watches anymore,” she added.Killarney Now & Then - MacMONAGLE photo archives.
Picture by Don MacMonagle -macmonagle.com
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